It’s harvest season, and your hands are chapped and sore from exposure to soil and sun. Contact with the soil is inevitable, no matter how careful you are about wearing gloves, but washing the soil from your hands (and washing all that garden produce) rinses away the skin’s natural protective oils, allowing it to dry out.
Homemade Hand Cream Recipes
Herbal skin creams can go a long way toward healing and moisturizing those tiny cracks that dryness causes. The following recipes contain ingredients that soften and smooth, such as beeswax and lanolin. The first recipe uses fresh herbs while the second uses essential oils. Ingredients not growing in your garden or stored in your kitchen cupboard may be purchased at a pharmacy or health-food store.
Many of the ingredients have long histories of medicinal use. Boiled in water or wine, comfrey roots have been used to heal wounds, bruises, and broken bones. Until World War I, lavender was used as a wound disinfectant. Cleopatra is said to have used aloe vera gel to preserve her youth, and Alexander the Great used it to heal the wounds of his soldiers. Rosemary stimulates blood flow and was once burned to kill germs in French hospitals. Mint was often strewn in sickrooms for its fresh scent. Rose water has been used for centuries as an ingredient of gentle, cleansing eyewashes. Rose-scented geraniums were used throughout nineteenth-century Europe in ointments and poultices. Chamomile and calendula have been used to ease pain and swelling.
Some of the ingredients may cause dermatitis in susceptible individuals. To test for possible allergic reactions, place a small amount of the ingredient in question on the inside of your elbow and cover it with an adhesive bandage. After twenty-four hours, check for redness, swelling, or itching.